- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

IUKA, Miss. (AP) - A U.S. Senate committee has approved legislation to transfer property in Tishomingo County from the Tennessee Valley Authority to the state of Mississippi for economic development.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee acted Thursday on a bill proposed by Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., to transfer a 172-acre site at the Yellow Creek Port in Iuka from TVA to the state. The port is near the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

The bill has the backing of TVA, the Mississippi Development Authority, the Yellow Creek Port and the Tombigbee River Water Management District.

“The Yellow Creek Port can be an even bigger engine for job creation and economic development in north Mississippi,” Cochran said. “The transfer of this property would allow the state and the TVA to fulfill the goal of creating more jobs at this site.”

Under the proposal, the TVA would transfer an estimated 172 acres of the Yellow Creek Port to the state. The state then could market the site to for industrial use.

Since signing a contract with TVA in 1971, the state has worked with TVA to promote commercial and manufacturing development at the Yellow Creek Port.

The Yellow Creek site was developed in the 1970s as a TVA nuclear power plant, but the plant was mothballed before ever going into production.

In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, plans and construction were underway for NASA to build an advanced solid rocket motor plant at the site. Those plans also failed to come to fruition as did an effort to build a nozzle for the space shuttle program at the facility.

The Mississippi Legislature in 2011 approved a bill authorizing the state to receive the property pending a successful environmental assessment.

Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., and co-sponsored by the rest of the Mississippi delegation.